‘Wing Walking’ performer and pilot killed after plane crashes during air show
A veteran aerial performer and her pilot were killed on Saturday after their plane crashed during an air show in Vandalia, Ohio.
WDTN-TV reported that Jane Wicker and pilot Charlie Schwenker’s aircraft appeared to be flying too low when a wing clipped the ground leading to the crash, around 12:46 p.m. local time. The plane rolled on the ground before bursting into flames.
According to WHIO-TV, Wicker was in performing her “wing walking” routine at the time, sitting on the underside of the plane’s wing, a 450 HP Stearman model aircraft called “Aurora,” during the third act of the Dayton Air Show. The Associated Press reported that the plane, which was used for training pilots during World War II, was registered to Wicker.
“I actually walk along the wing of an airplane,” she explained in an interview with WDTU on Friday. “No safety line, no tether, no harness, no parachute.”
Air show officials canceled the remainder of the day’s performances but said in a press conference Saturday afternoon that the show would resume on Sunday. Both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Ohio State Highway Patrol are investigating possible causes for the crash.
Wicker, who also worked as a budget analyst for the FAA and had obtained a college degree in finance, told WDTU on Friday that she planned to marry her fiance, fellow team member and pilot Rock Skowbo, on the wing of her plane in 2014.
“That’s my ‘Diana Prince’ side,” Wicker said of her FAA work. “Wing walking is my ‘Wonder Woman.'”
Skowbo was not involved in the crash on Saturday, and no attendees at the show were injured.
“We ask for your prayers for the families and privacy of all involved and allow them time to grieve and work through these events,” read a statement on her company’s Facebook page.
[Image via Jane Wicker Airshows’ Facebook page]